VF del sud day 1: Rome to Castel Gandolfo

Sam needs to work on the correct pose!

The relentless heat of Rome inspired us to hit the trail at 0630, but we also lucked out as early morning thunderstorms had dampened down the dust and temporarily lowered the temperature. The path out of Rome was well marked, but that still didn’t prevent us from a couple of scenic detours.

Porta San Sebastiano. I suspect it had a different name back in the pagan days!

The track showing on the app had changed, so instead of playing dodgem with cars on the via Appia antica, we spent some time on park trails. Eventually we regained the ancient road, but it was preferable to walk on the edge rather than all those big gnarly rocks. Eventually the traffic peters out – except for those hell bent on testing their suspension, and masochistic cyclists on road bikes.

The end of today’s section is the town of Castel Gandolfo, the castle being a summer retreat for various Popes through the ages, and home to the Vatican observatory. Guess they need to keep an eye on the folks up in heaven. The town is perched on the rim of an ancient Crater lake, meaning the last five km were a slog up hill to said rim. Tough way to finish day 1!

Water break in the shade of the ruins of one of the countless masoleums that line the via Appia

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